Students interviewed parents and/or grandparents to inquire into which technology was available to them when learning and how that impacted the knowledge that was produced.

I interviewed my parents who are both Chinese and born in the early 1970s in China.

Lang: Which technology was available for you guys when learning? How that impacted the knowledge that was produced?

Father: When we were at school, we only had normal-sized desks. You had to use a lot of scratch paper to do math problems because we didn’t have calculators or computers at that time. We write on both sides of the book, and when we have used up one side, we turn it over on the other. After we both finished using it, we bought a new paper and made new notebooks. We used pencils or pens, like the ones you use now. All the homework is on paper, and we have to answer all the questions in the exercise book. Take notes by hand.

Mother: There was nothing then, but what you have now. There was nothing. No one can help her, so she studies alone. Today’s kids are lucky to have computers and phones to help them find problems. When I am learning English, I have to look it up in an English dictionary, and even if I do, I can’t pronounce it correctly. If you forget to write any Chinese characters, you must look them up in a Chinese dictionary.

After listening to my grandparents’ answers, I realized that the tools I use today are vastly improved from what They used to be. The use of tools directly affects the acquisition of knowledge and the acquisition process as personal knowledge. With the help and support of more advanced devices such as computers and the Internet, the sources of knowledge that students can acquire are immeasurable. All of this evidence points to the development of personal and Shared knowledge.

At that time, people acquired limited knowledge. Constrained by underdeveloped science and technology, they don’t have too many means to acquire rich knowledge. The discovery of new knowledge was also extremely inefficient. There was no network to disseminate this knowledge, and people could only acquire a certain amount of knowledge by reading.



Social Dilemma

Post Your biggest takeaways from the documentary and the follow-up collaborative discussion to your blog.


Technology is both a good and a bad existence. Modern technology ensured the speed and efficiency of searching. However, technology makes people spend a considerable amount of time browsing content they favored on social media and subscribing to their content.


More importantly, it is incredibly challenging for individuals and groups to distinguish useful and correct information nowadays. People who live nowadays need to ensure that we are critical and judgmental of whatever we are seeing and receiving. Because something observed by you may not be the truth, social networks allow people to see what they want to see instead of opinions that are not entertaining and facts that people don’t usually agree with. Algorithms behind these technologies can be biased if it is well manipulated. Data collections and calculations become the key for technology companies, which leads them to their prodigious profit. As users who utilize these applications, we need to do our best to stay rational and be aware that our private information is not exposed online, so we live our lives as free individuals.


In the collaborative discussion, we have discussed the following question:

Should we hold people responsible for the applications of technologies they develop/create?

My response: Developers and producers need to pay more attention to the design of applications and safe usage. So these technologies may not be manipulated in inappropriate ways that might harm society and individuals.